September 30, 2021
I hope your semester is off to a good start and that you are staying healthy. Last spring semester we kicked off a multi-year project to transition to the Colorado Online @, our new consortial approach to online learning across the system. During this academic year I will be sending monthly emails to keep you up to date on our transition to Colorado Online @.
What are We Doing?
We are implementing an innovative consortial model that willleverage the collective strength of the Colorado Community College System, CCCOnline, and our thirteen colleges and 40 locations across Colorado. In our future model, fully online, asynchronous course instruction will move from CCCOnline to the 13 CCCS colleges. In addition, we will centralize some services, supports, and functions to ensure equitable access to quality academic programs, online courses, and student support services regardless of the student’s home college and/or geographic location.
Why Are We Making This Change?
This change is being done in order to align our consortium with Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation standards and expectations. Furthermore, we recognize that students in our system currently have inequitable access to online programs, courses, and student support services. This model aims to address these inequities. Lastly, we want to meet students where they are and satisfy the growing demand for online learning. We believe we can do this by reducing competition between colleges and CCCOnline, improving efficiency in course offerings and support services, and leveraging state online investments.
Our focus thus far has been on building a collaborative and representative foundation for this large-scale change. This collaborative focus will allow us to provide all students with the best possible online student experience within a reasonable timeframe. To date we have convened the Colorado Online @ Project team with system, CCCOnline, and college representatives. We have also hired two project staff – Tammy Vercauteren, Colorado Online Project Director and Chin Ya Russell, Colorado Online Project Coordinator. Additionally, we have worked with Mindwires, Inc., a nationally recognized online learning consulting firm. Mindwires conducted student and instructor surveys, focus groups, and interviews, completed an external analysis of other state systems, and developed student experience maps.
We also established an Online Faculty and Instructor Advisory Committee with representation from all colleges and CCCOnline to ensure we had input from those teaching online courses currently. Finally, we formed five subcommittees to identify and prioritize specific next steps in the areas of academic affairs, learning design, learning resources, student support services, and technology. These subcommittees include both college and CCCOnline representatives, and they will discuss elements of the future consortium and make recommendations on how the consortial model will take shape.
We are currently in the planning phase and will begin transitioning to the new model through pilots starting in Fall 2022. We will assess the effectiveness of the pilots, expand the pilots, and make improvements to our processes until we are fully transitioned to the new consortial model in 2024.
Our Communication Plan
It is critical to keep people updated across the system. In order to accomplish this, we will do the following:
- Monthly email updates from me, the Executive Sponsor for this project
- The Colorado Online @ Project Blog (https://coloradoonline.cccs.edu)
- Bi-weekly updates, FAQs, virtual suggestion box
- Member lists for Project Teams, subcommittees, and the Online Faculty and Instructor Advisory Committee
- Video updates at the 2:2, with feedback gathered through discipline chairs
- Live virtual forums on October 15 and February 2
- Updates from college leadership, project team and subcommittee representatives, and various functional groups
In addition, we welcome questions and comments from you. Feel free to contact us at:
- Executive Sponsor, Landon Pirius – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Project Director, Tammy Vercauteren – email@example.com
- Project Coordinator, Chin Ya Russell – firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your patience, feedback, and support as we build out this new model together, and for everything you do on a daily basis to support the success of our students.
Landon K. Pirius, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs